KABUL, July 23, 2016 (Xinhua) -- People walk past the blast site in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on July 23, 2016. The death toll has risen to 20 while 160 others wounded after a deadly blast ripped through a demonstration in western Kabul on Saturday, an Afghan health ministry official said. (Xinhua/Jawid Omid)
KABUL, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The death toll has risen to 31 while 160 others wounded after a deadly blast ripped through a demonstration in western Kabul on Saturday, an Afghan health official said.
"The latest statistics provided by our staff showed that 31 people were killed and 160 others wounded in Saturday's deadly incident," Dr. Qamar-u-Ddin Sediqqi, a senior advisor to Afghan Public Health Ministry, told Xinhua.
The incident took place at around mid-day when thousands of people were holding a demonstration against change in the route of a major electricity line.
The number of the casualties may further go up as several wounded remained in critical condition, he said.
The explosion also shattered the windows of nearby buildings and houses.
Dehmazang Square was announced by the demonstrators as the center of their protest after they were prevented by security forces to march towards Pashtonistan Watt, an intersection in central Kabul near the country's Presidential Palace.
The demonstration, held by the so-called "Enlightening Movement" protesters mainly from minority Hazaras, started on Saturday morning.
The protesters' leaders were trying to set up tents and prepare the protesters to stay at night at the square before the deadly blast.
The nature of the blast still remained unknown. However, unofficial sources said the explosion was conducted by a suicide bomber.
Media reports said the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban militants denied involvement in the attack.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah strongly condemned the attack and ordered the concerned authorities to provide best medical assistance to the victims of the deadly incident.